Monday, May 13, 2013
[May Monster Madness]-Inn of the Damned (1975)
As an Australian, I always find Aussie horror fun! It's not often that I see it at all, because it's a VERY small genre, and it's always fun to see a horror film from my own country, and seeing the characters talk with my accent!
Today I'll be looking at Inn of the Damned. This movie comes on a double feature DVD with another Aussie horror film, that I'll be looking at later today
Inn of the Damned starts off with a businessman, Cummings (John Morris), who's being led to an inn to stay for the night by Biscayne (Robert Quilter), who is, unbeknownst to Cummings, is a murderous outlaw. Despite Biscayne's objections, Cummings also brings along a prostitute to spend the night with him. Later, at the inn, which is run by a German couple-Caroline (Judith Anderson) and Lazar Straulle (Joseph Furst) when Cummings and the hooker fall asleep, they are both brutally murdered...
The next day, after having a discussion with Caroline about a deal they have going, Biscayne and his cowardly cohort Parr (John Meilon) plan a robbery. They pull it off (in a strangely comic scene) and get away. On their trail, however, is Cincaid (Alex Cord), an American bounty hunter.
The duo split up and agree to meet elsewhere. A little later, Parr is discovered by Cincaid and Moore (Tony Bonner), a trooper. Parr spills the beans and tells Cincaid that Biscayne is at a nearby waterfall. The two lawmen head there (and are told to steer clear of the nearby inn by both Parr, and a random guy).
They find Biscayne, and after a fight, Biscayne is captured, and later killed by Cincaid when he tries to escape.
A short while later, Moore goes to the inn to ask about the missing Cummings, and while he plans on leaving, the couple convince him to stay. NNNNOOOOO! You moron, Moore! You're gonna die! And when he falls asleep, the murderous couple kill Moore...Not that you'd know, since his death is offscreen! *grrr*.
Elsewhere, the trooper colonel goes to confront Cincaid, who he thinks has gone too far. Cincaid is with a hooker in a hotel room, eating peaches off her chest (Um...yeah...), when the colonely busts in. And then, after the colonel sees Biscayne's corpse propped up in a chair, we get a hilarious line courtesy of the hotel manager-"This is a respectable hotel! We never allow corpses in here!".
The next day, three people go to the inn, and once they're all dispatched, Cincaid gets suspicious and goes to the inn, ready to find out what sinister things are going on there...
So, was Inn of the Damned any good? Partly.
While the movie isn't mute, there isn't a huge amount of dialogue. In many scenes, there's no talking at all, and it's the music that does the talking. A lot. Too much! There is too much goddamn scoring in this film! It's especially annoying because the same tune is played almost half a dozen times during the film's run! While it is overused, the film's soundtrack is good. As for the movie's pace, it's very slow, but never boring, thankfully.
The film has no gore (minus one Sam Peckinpah-syle gunshot killing), and is only slighly violent. This isn't a big problem by any means, but the lack of many death scenes is! Three characters who go to the inn die offscreen! It somewhat works for the two female characters due to a reveal in a scene with the insane Caroline, but it's still disappointing.
Inn of the Damned is really only partly horror. It's more of a western mixed with some horror elements. So, for those who were wondering, no, this western/horror hybrid is NOT creepier than Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter. Also, there's one really out of place comedy scene!
The acting is all decent. Alex Cord makes for a fun leading man, and Robert Quilter is good as Biscayne. Joseph Furst, however, is wasted, and as someone who has seen the only surviving episode of Doctor Who-The Underwater Menace, I know first-hand just how much Joseph Furst can overact!
The biggest problem of Inn of the Damned is the plot. For the first half-hour of the film, it follows the murderous outlaw Bindayne, then when he's taken down by Cincaid, the plot stops to a dead halt. We follow Cincaid doing random stuff for a while, then some more people finally arrive at the inn, then, a long while later, we FINALLY get to the climax with Cincaid vs the couple. At two hours, Inn of the Damned is too long, especially considering the bare bones plot-There's a couple who run an inn, and kill anyone who stays. That's it! And it's never explained why the couple kill people. Not in the well-done, mysterious kind of way, but in the 'this movie feels like a skeleton script' way.
So, in closing, while it feels like a skeleton script, I do recommend Inn of the Damned to anyone interested in Aussie horror! Later today I'll be looking at Night of Fear, a very strange little Aussie film!...